Spring Break

It feels so good to finally get some time off. It was sorely needed. I have been sick since the first day of break, and I had to spend two days studying for an exam for my finance class, but today, today I get to just sit around and relax. I don’t get sick very often, and I’m still not certain whether this is a cold or a severe reaction to the high levels of pollen around here lately. I don’t have allergies regularly so I’m leaning toward cold, but the pollen is really high…

Either way I get to be lazy today, tomorrow, and Thursday since all of my grading is done for the third quarter. I don’t have to do any work this week other than preparing for the move. This weekend we visit family in Orlando, we’re planning to speak with a financial advisor and we’ll be going to Epcot for their garden festival. And on the last day of break we’re all going to a spring training game. 

Just 10 more days. I cannot wait to be in our new home.

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Checking In and Checking Out

It seems like forever since I wrote last, but really it was only about two weeks ago. I have had a whirlwind two weeks though, and am excited to share what has been happening.

New House

We were approved for our new rental house! In addition to it being a vast improvement over our current living and commuting situation, the lease also came with a first month’s rent free clause as long as we signed a 15 month lease. This was not a problem for us since 15 months would take us through the next school year and would end conveniently at the end of June, giving us plenty of money (summer checks) and time (a month with no work) to move if we absolutely have to. I would rather not.

Now that we do not have to pay first month’s rent we have extra money to enjoy our spring break and to make sure all moving costs are paid, including those troublesome electric and water service deposits. Ugh. Only 3 more weeks until we move!

Certification Test

I have been writing about the exam which is required of me if I want to continue to teach math instead of returning to music education. To say I studied terribly hard for this would not be an overstatement. I purchased study materials and wrote more note cards than I care to admit. It was important for me to understand that while the material was not difficult when I did it in high school, nor would it be difficult if I had the time to plan lessons and teach it to students, it was difficult to learn and retain the information in an a la carte fashion so that all bases were covered at the same time to pass the test.

Saturday, March 1st I spent two and a half hours working devilishly hard on this test. I went back over all the questions and even caught some mistakes I made the first time around. When I took my music certification test I zoomed through it and knew I passed. This test I took the entire time and even then I was not confident about how many questions I actually answered correctly. It was a relief, then, when the administrator of the center handed me my unofficial score report and it read Pass. I was overwhelmed with relief, and when I left the center I cried all the way home. I never have to go back to music education ever again unless I absolutely have to. The change has been made, the path has been chosen and taken. I have pivoted from one trajectory to another, and this action will (hopefully) improve my level of happiness in my work.

Jury Duty

I was summoned to appear for jury duty on Monday and I was selected to appear in a courtroom as part of the jury selection process. It took three hours, and when they had decided on the 14 person jury (12 regulars and 2 alternates) my name was on that list. I spent Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday hearing evidence in a first degree murder trial, and in the end I was the Jury Forewoman who facilitated the jury deliberations. The evidence was strong enough that we were able to find him guilty of first degree murder beyond all reasonable doubt.

So many people talk about getting out of jury duty, and I totally understand why. If I was paid hourly or on commission, I would have lost a lot of money if I had missed three full days of work. However, since my jury duty days are paid days thanks to my school district, I felt no qualms about serving for as many days as they needed me to. It was an interesting experience and it was nice to have some time away from the kids. I actually started to miss them by the end!

Moving Forward

So many changes are still ahead.

1. We have to move and I am not looking forward to packing all of our crap. I REALLY want to make sure that all of the things we don’t need or use get culled out and either thrown away or donated to Goodwill, and I am hoping to have enough money to hire someone to clean this old rental house so we don’t have to.

2. I may have to look for a different job within the district. Since I was hired after the school year started, I am on something called a “temporary service” contract. This means that even if I was highly qualified and certified to teach the subject (which I am now), I am considered to be nothing more than a long-term sub with full-time teacher benefits. So I have to reapply for my position regardless of whatever happens. So everything else equal, I would reapply and keep my position. Unfortunately there are other forces at play, including loss of students and therefore less courses to teach (i.e. allocations). The lower the student load, the less teachers are needed. Also teachers from other schools who have been with the district for 3 years or more are given preference when allocations drop. What I mean by that is if someone is displaced due to lower enrollment, the district has an obligation to place them in a similar position someplace else in the district, often replacing other teachers who are either on temporary service contracts (like me) or who have been at their school less than 3-5 years. So re-interviewing might be a moot point if someone from another district high school is placed at my school in my stead.

3. I still have to take the Accounting School Competency Exam so that I can move into my major coursework. I have to make the decision whether to take summer classes or not, but I can’t make that decision until I know I have passed this exam with at least a C grade.

There are other things to think about but these three are the most immediate. Perhaps I will post some pictures of our new home at the end of the month. Hopefully I will post again before then. 🙂